McDaniel’s passion and respect for traditional Southern cuisine was first inspired by the foods his grandmothers prepared while he was growing up in Haleyville, Alabama. McDaniel graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s Degree in hotel and restaurant management before heading north to Montpelier, Vermont to study at the New England Culinary Institute. During his time there, McDaniel honed his knowledge of and appreciation for sustainable cooking and became an advocate for supporting local farmers and preserving regional resources. In his previous positions, McDaniel worked under prestigious chefs such as Johnny Earles at Criolla’s in Grayton Beach, Florida, Chris Hastings at Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama, and Drew Robinson at Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2009, McDaniel accepted the position of executive chef for the soon-to-debut SpringHouse restaurant. Here, McDaniel ensures the seasonally-based menu stays true to the region’s local flavors and cuisine. McDaniel has been a James Beard Foundation Best Chef South semifinalist in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, and SpringHouse was included on Southern Living’s 100 Best Restaurants in the South list in 2014.